An Exploration of Sacred Parenting and Education

Smiling in Love’s Universe

In Healing, Story telling on January 26, 2012 at 11:08 pm

Everyone knows that all but one chapter of the Qur’an starts with “Bism Allah al-Rahman al-Rahim”, in the name of God, Infinite Tenderness, Eternal Kindness. But what do we know about this? My students tell me that the terms “Merciful” and “Compassionate” don’t mean much to them. Maybe it’s helpful to look at them through the eye/heart of the friends of God. Ibn ‘Arabi says that Rahman and Rahim are connected to Rahem, the womb of an expecting mother. He says it’s “as if” the whole cosmos, all of us, each and every single being and all of the beings, are contained inside God’s womb. It’s “as if” we are being nurtured, protected, guided, loved, and provided for every instant from That Beloved. May God open our hearts and souls and mind to the beauties. Omid Safi

For the past week, my daughter and I have been reading, along with other bedtime stories, Idris Shah’s Fatima the spinner and the tent. Im not sure why she likes it – presumably because her first name is Fatimah too. Every time I would read it, I would dwell on the esoetric meaning while reading. I dont think, at 5, she follows the details of the story exactly. At times, I would meditate while reading bringing my finest attention and presence to the moment. Tonight was different. Tonight, I didnt read but explained the pictures in a hope to get through the story quickly as it was late and I wanted to rest too. Half way through the book, bless her, she smiled and said ‘you have to read it’. I started smilling too. As I carried on explaining we both started laughing. Alhamdulilah. What a mediation! to be able to laugh together. For me, this may just be the litmus test for how healthy a relationship is: can we laugh together?

If you’re into statistics, the following talk by Ron Gutman is worth watching.

In the Islamic tradition, it is said smiling was a habit of the Prophet (pbuh). It’s recommend one greets all people, people you know and dont know with a smile. Over the weekend, my daughter and I went for a walk in the forest. We met people – couples, families, single parents with children, groups of friends- some taking dogs out for a walk, others cycling, some walking, a few horse riding. There was hardly a single person who didn’t greet us with a smile and a ‘good morning’. Smiling is contagious – and children are such beautiful reminders of this sunnah (way of the Prophet). For me as a parent, probably the greatest gift and teaching children bring to me, is the reminder to smile and lose to my self in those moments of laughter . Could one have better teachers then children for this?

One may say, with all the misery or problems in life how can one smile in the midst of it? Crying has its place too – however, is it possible a shift in perspective can change a situation from one causing us to be upset to one in which qualities such as awe, gratitude, beauty, generosity and love are experienced? May be, especially if we are able to see the mercy or rahma in each and every event or cultivate an attitude of trust or reliance (tawakkul) in the Divine, knowing that everything is a potential mercy in disguise (as Kabir Dede would say) not matter how we judge it and it has a purpose even though we may not see it. That’s what the Idris Shah book is all about. I felt I had a realisation of this when I met, Hassan Hussein, a Turkish healer in Konya who would beat the crap out of his patients – or as one dervish patient put it “you mean CRAP to stand for constant resistance against Peace. Another way to look at his methodology is to say He Loves to induce Surrender with the aggression inherent in disease”. Some would be left with bruises. I went through the torture too. It was so painful that had somebody else done it to me, such as an official, I would have gone through a period of post-traumatic depression for sure. But surprisingly, I couldnt stop laughing. I laughed so much from being tortured I couldnt stop- the healer, Hassan, laughed too. At one point he pulled out an iron bar to do something to the sole of my feet! I laughed uncontrollably then as well! Why did I laugh amidst all that pain? because I knew what this loving gentle soul was doing was for my benefit and done from a place of compassion. Had the perception been that he’s doing something to harm me or he is incompetent in anyway – I would be screaming! He certainly did get results where others medical experts had failed. One dervesh couldnt see very well with one of his eyes – a few years of going to him and his vision was greatly improved.

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